AWB Statement on Extension of Stay-Home Order through May 31
Phased approach to reopening economy is a good start, but needs to be flexible to consider manufacturing and other sectors that could safely reopen sooner
OLYMPIA — Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, offered the following statement today on Gov. Inslee’s decision to extend the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order through May 31, and his announcement of a four-phased approach to reopen Washington businesses:
“We’re encouraged to hear the governor confirm today that Washingtonians are making progress in the fight against COVID-19, and that social distancing is working. At the same time, it’s difficult to hear that many businesses will need to remain closed for several more weeks, and possibly longer. With each passing day, we become more concerned about the economic damage our state is suffering as a result of this pandemic. Restarting the economy, and then rebuilding it, are monumental challenges, so everything we can do now to mitigate further damage will help in the long-term effort.
“We appreciate the steps the governor has taken in recent days to safely reopen parts of the economy, such as construction, outdoor recreation, and elective surgeries, as well as the additional steps announced today regarding landscaping, automobile sales, curb-side retail and more.
“We believe manufacturing is another industry that merits consideration for restarting sooner rather than later, given the proper guidelines. Manufacturing is a critical sector of Washington’s economy and an important driver of the state’s exports. As one of the most trade-driven states in the nation, it’s important that Washington manufacturers continue making products during this time of upheaval to avoid losing long-term customers and market share to other states or nations.
“We encourage the governor to remain flexible and to consider moving all manufacturers into Phase 1, provided they can meet the health and safety requirements that essential manufacturers are presently following. We also hope the governor will consider — at every step in the four-phased process — whether it can be safely expedited. And then, as additional sectors of the economy continue to come back online, it will be become increasingly imperative that child care providers are given support they need to reopen or stay open so parents can go back to work.
“Going to work and going home are ways that Washingtonians can continue to bend the curve and lower exposure while safely turning up the dial on the economy.”